July 11, 2007

Kennebec River Brewery: Magic Hole and Summer Ale

magicIPA.gifWe got our hands on a few bottles of Magic Hole IPA and Kennebec Summer Ale from the Kennebec River Brewery back in June, and due to circumstances beyond our control we haven't been able to post our review until now. We're actually bummed it took us so long because we think Kennebec is actually a really interesting operation, and we had every intention of mentioning them on the site before now.

First, a few items about the brewery itself, and then on to reviewing the actual beer. The brewery is part of the Northern Outdoors whitewater rafting family, located up in The Forks, Maine. They make a whole bunch of different beers, including Big Mama Blueberry Ale, Arthur's Hazelnut, and Penobscot Porter along with the Magic Hole IPA and Kennebec Summer Ale we tried. The beers are available at various times of the year in bottled form, as well as on draft.

Now that we've gotten the introductions out of the way, read on for the full review of their Summer Ale and IPA.

Magic Hole IPA (India Pale Ale)
Kennebec River Brewery
Typical Price: About $7-$8 for a six pack
Available year-round in six packs and on draft in Central Maine

The Company Line:

So named for its ability to make rafts disappear, Magic Hole is the Kennebec River's biggest challenge. Dedicated to those with a "GO FOR IT" attitude, this bold, unrepentant ale is liberally hopped with premier East Kent Goldings.

Our Take:
Our first thought after a sip of the Magic Hole IPA was to check the label and make sure we'd grabbed the bottle we thought. Instead of the aggressive, floral hoppy-ness we usually expect from an IPA, this one was a bit more mellow and reminiscent of a regular ale. There was a tinge of sourness or bitterness in the bottle we tried, but it wasn't unpleasant and who are we to judge - that's how we've been described on numerous occasions.

The overall taste was earthy more than hoppy, with some light maltiness thrown in for good measure. When we thought of it as just an ale we were quite pleased and thought it was very drinkable overall. Some reviewers detected a small metallic tang in their beers, but since we're fans of Otter Creek's Copper Ale it didn't throw us at all.

Kennebec Summer Ale
Kennebec River Brewery
Typical Price: About $7-$8 for a six pack
Available May-September in Central Maine in six packs

The Company Line:

Dedicated to the spirit of adventure in all of us, we handcraft this provocative ale with the finest North American malted barley, and a liberal dose of premier Northwest hops. The result is a sublime brew of exceptional quaffability that's as refreshing as a ride down the Kennebec River.

Our Take:
The Summer Ale poured nicely with a respectable head, and our noses detected the homey smells of tea and bread when we breathed in. We liked the flavor, and we thought it was a good blend of hops and malt on the tongue, and the aftertaste left us wanting more. Just as with the Magic Hole, however, we thought the Summer Ale was a little less robust than we might have expected from an APA. This one's a little more delicate than we thought it might be, but that adds up to being able to drink more of them after a long, hard day in a rubber raft.

Overall Verdict:
We liked both of these beers, and the general consensus was that we'd like to try them on draft to get the full experience. For some reason, it didn't feel like the bottled beers were doing justice to what the beers were trying to do. All in all, both beers were tasty in their own right, and we have every intention of heading north for some whitewater rafting and Kennebec beer as soon as we can.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at July 11, 2007 7:09 AM
Recent Comments

I am trying to find any information on a liquor from the past called "Acaveet". I don't know if I'm spelling it correctly (A-ka-veet). Also, Tuborg beer.

Posted by: Carolyn Rodriguez at July 29, 2007 10:57 AM
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